Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Today's news collection

Pulmonary Rehab his morning. Crowded as they were closed for the holiday Monday. He increased my time on the treadmill, doubled the reps on my leg exercises and added two upper body exercises. Feels like I'm back at Parris Island--but it feels good to be able to do it, thanks to getting 100% oxygen. Now if I can just get out of bed tomorrow... ~Bob

Must Read Book: The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die. By Niall Ferguson

Having been impressed with Ferguson's books Civilization, The Ascent of Money and The War of the World, I was delighted to receive this short volume from a friend (thanks, Dwight). While I rate this a "must read," I do so with some trepidation. Ferguson deals here in places with financial concepts and structure that are outside the knowledge base of most people, myself included, and the book requires cognitive focus to follow. A Scots-born, Oxford educated historian, he is now a Harvard professor. His thesis is that both liberals and conservatives are wrong about the decline of western civilization we can see all around us. Ferguson makes the case that it is the degeneration of institutions that have made the west successful that are causing the downward spiral. He focus broadly on four: Representative Government, the Free Market, the Rule of Law and Civil Society. He is a lot more hopefully that the restoration of Civil Society can reverse the decline than I am in my book, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. (From which all royalties go to help wounded vets.) Like Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson, Ferguson is one of those academics who is always worth reading, and who I know are all smarter than I am, despite my previous Mensa membership. If you have the G2 to follow his arguments, this book is not to be missed.

Why Economic Growth Is Getting Harder

Excerpt: For over a century, the trend line for the long-term growth of the U.S. economy has held remarkably steady. Notwithstanding huge changes over time in economic, social and political conditions, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has fluctuated fairly closely around an average annual rate of approximately 2 percent. Looking ahead, however, there are strong reasons for doubting that this historic norm can be maintained, says Brink Lindsey, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Business Tax Climate Index

Excerpt: The Tax Foundation's 2014 edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index enables business leaders, government policymakers and taxpayers to gauge how their states' tax systems stack up by comparing the states on over 100 different variables in the five important areas of taxation (major business taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes and property taxes) and then adding the results up to a final, overall ranking, says the Tax Foundation. The 10 best states in this year's index are: Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Florida, Washington, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah and Indiana. The 10 lowest ranked, or worst, states in this year's index are: Maryland, Connecticut, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California, New Jersey and New York. Lawmakers create tax systems under the banner of job creation and economic development, but the truth is that if a state needs to offer such packages, it is most likely covering for a woeful business tax climate.

Wall St. elites reason it's time for a 'de-Americanized world,' China's news agency 

Excerpt: China’s official news agency is calling for a “de-Americanized world,” in a blistering editorial characterizing the United States as a “meddling” and “hypocritical” nation that introduces chaos into the world for its own ends.

Holy war in Harlem: Pastors want Al Sharpton out. By Simone Weichselbaum

Excerpt: Four upstart clergymen have invited more than 100 churches to knock Rev. Al Sharpton off his Harlem political throne. Speak Out Say It Loud, headquartered at Mount Neboh Baptist Church on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., is a new coalition of black ministers determined to create a unified African-American power base with citywide clout. Mount Neboh pastor Johnnie Green, 51, said Sharpton has neglected black New York while pursuing national fame and acclaim.

Chris Christie: 'DC is an alternate universe'. By Courtney Coren

Excerpt: "With what we see going on in Washington DC, right now they could use a dose of some New Jersey common sense," he told the crowd, referring to Washington as "an alternate universe. Notice I said New Jersey common sense, not Republican common sense or Democrat common sense."

Will Israel's Left Destroy Israel? By Daniel Greenfield

Excerpt: From one angle, Israel has emerged out of the shadows of the left. Under conservative governments, it has modernized and innovated. The Israel of the startup probably would not exist if the kibbutz was still a viable proposition. From another angle, Israel is a conservative country in the grip of an unelected left.

Is NBC Going To Be The First Network To Die? By Daniel Greenfield

Excerpt: There was a time when NBC owned Thursday night. That was a long time ago. Now it’s seventh.

Ex-Israeli Soldier Denounced On U.S. Campus For Not Raping Palestinian Women. By Daniel Greenfield

Excerpt: Hen Mazzig had been a member of Israel’s most left-wing party. But that didn’t prepare him for the sheer level of Israelaphobic craziness that he would encounter on campuses in the Pacific Northwest.

Man prevents bear from killing him by grabbing its tongue. By Patrick O'Rourke

Excerpt: His mouth was wide open right in front of my face so the last thing I remember I had his tongue in my hand and I didn’t want to let go because he was trying to fight me off. So he was hitting me with his claws, so I says, ‘If you’re going to hurt me, I’m going to hurt you too.’ So he was biting his tongue at the same time,” said Cyr.

OUTRAGEOUS! U.S. Army Lieutenant Sentenced To 20 Years In Fort Leavenworth For Killing Taliban Scouts Helping To Set Up Ambush Of His Platoon.

Excerpt: Via Allen West:...'The story of First Lieutenant [Clint] Lorance has not been covered by a single major media source. In July 2012, Lorance was ordered to take command of a platoon in the southern Afghanistan province of Kandahar, a region where I also spent two and a half years training and advising the Afghan National Army. The platoon Lorance now commanded had lost its previous leader to enemy attack.' (Always hard to know the facts at a distance, especially with political spin from both sides. ~Bob)

Allah Ach...-BOOM. ~Bob

NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally

Excerpt: The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. (Let's just rename the White House and NSA "The Ministry of Truth." Just so they don't tell my wife about Bubbles and Trixie. ~Bob)

Democrat Says Reading Obamacare Not My Responsibility

Excerpt:  Democrats are just as likely to say ridiculous and inane things, and thankfully we have Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) to prove it for us. In a recent off-the-cuff interview with CNS News, Rep. Johnson said that she didn’t believe it was her responsibility to read the Obamacare legislation. Seriously. I have proof. (No one told her being in Congress ha hard stuff like reading. ~Bob)

Political Quiz

Suggests I'm really a libertarian. But these answers are so facile and the test so short, I'm not sure of the value of these things. ~bob

Unreal: Barrycades block Flight 93 National Memorial

Excerpt:  Obama is really making a (Bigger --JB) fool of himself with these Barrycades.

Check it out: This weekend’s Million Veteran March in Washington, D.C., brought attention to the closure of the nation’s open-air war memorials and other monuments, but another memorial has been quietly “Barrycaded” as well. WPXI reminds us that the open-air Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa., has been closed off to the public as well since the shutdown began. (Allah Akbar, Barry, thanks from your Jihadist buddies. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Figures compiled by Challenger Gray and Christmas, an outplacement firm, there were 8,128 layoffs in the health industry last month.  Since the beginning of the year the health industry has seen 41,085 layoffs.  Only the financial and industrial sectors have seen more layoffs than the health sector.

Commando Supersuit will feature a Exoskelton and Liquid Body Armor. By John Reed

Excerpt: Imagine a day in the not too distant future when American commandos won't have to pull back in the face of enemy fire as they did in Somalia this weekend. Instead, they'll wear armor that allows them to literally walk through a hail of AK-47 fire and snatch their target away. Who will need drones when you can snatch a guy off the street with minimal risk of U.S. casualties? This scene, straight out of a sci-fi movie, might be real someday soon—if U.S. Special Operations Command chief Adm. William McRaven has his way. (The writer apparently never read Heinlein's book Starship Troopers, which was the original mention of total armor suits. --Del)

Senator Ron Wyden: Executive Branch Making 'Misleading Statements' about Domestic Surveillance

Excerpt: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants real intelligence reform.  (Here's a speech I figured everyone could agree was worth hearing. --Del)

Response on Columbus Day

My opinion on Columbus?  He was a brave man.  He took a commission from a Queen that could have ended in his death.  He sailed away on an ocean that no one knew its size, since Magellan set out in 1521, years later than Columbus in 1492.  Did he know where he was when he found land?  No.  Did anyone?  Maybe the inhabitants.  Was it America?  No.  Hispaniola.  Does it matter?  Not really.  He was a brave explorer, as were many others who followed him.  He was the first to reach the Western Hemisphere by ship and, I think, worthy of a holiday of remembrance.  I learned about him all through school years.  Teachers praised him.  My school years were the 1950’s and 1960’s, a much nicer time than today.  I greatly dislike the cynicism, political correctness, hateful attitudes and criminal activities of today’s most talked about cultures (especially Muslims).  I am so glad I was born in a better America, even though it was just post-WWII and there was much struggling and rebuilding.  At least we had shared values and morals in this country at that time.  God help my daughter and grandson as they grow older. --BM. Agree 100% ~Bob

Excerpt: Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner (D) pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor battery involving three women. Filner, 71, resigned in late August, succumbing to intense pressure after at least 17 women brought lurid sexual harassment allegations against the former 10-term congressman. He had been on the job less than nine months into a four-year term and was San Diego’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years. (I bet all those women are happy they voted for him for Congress instead of his Iraq War Marine veteran opponent, Nick Popaditch, because, you know, the Republican War on Women. ~Bob.)

Goodbye Tobacco, Hello Stevia, Say Tobacco Growers. By Alan Farnham 

Excerpt: After tobacco: What? Every year fewer and fewer farmers plant tobacco, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But what are they to grow instead? Prospects look good, say experts, for a valuable but virtually unknown crop: stevia. From it is derived a zero-calorie, all-natural sweetener used by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and a fast-growing list of other food and beverage manufacturers.

Absentee Landlord; Absentee Mayor (Cory Booker)

Excerpt: The Newark Star Ledger notes that Booker has earned $1.3 million on the speaking circuit since 1998, when he first took office, with the majority of that income coming in 2011 and 2012. According to Politico’s Maggie Haberman, however, Booker “gave about $150,000 total to charity over 14 years.”  That fact makes it tough to square the mayor’s claim that he has given away “hundreds and hundreds of thousands” of dollars of the money he’s made in speaking fees — after taxes.

The Louisiana Heist. Food-stamp fraudsters should be punished to the full extent of the law. By Charles C. W. Cooke

Excerpt: On Saturday, Louisiana’s “EBT” system malfunctioned, causing spending limits on users’ food-stamp cards temporarily to be lifted. In two counties at least, recipients noticed the error, spread the word, and set about trying to check out as much as they could fit into shopping carts. At Walmarts in the towns of Springhill and Mansfield, employees called corporate headquarters to ask what they should do. They were instructed to “keep the registers ringing.” This they did — and with a vengeance. (I predict they will play the race card and walk. ~Bob)

America Is Intervened Out: Our security interests have changed, along with our sense that we can make a difference. By Victor Davis Hanson

Excerpt: In the immediate future, I do not think the United States will be intervening abroad on the ground — not in the Middle East or, for that matter, many places in other parts of the world. The reason is not just a new Republican isolationism, or the strange but growing alliance between left-wing pacifists and right-wing libertarians.

The disastrous ObamaCare exchanges are just the tip of the iceberg. By Edward Morrissey

Excerpt: Rarely has a government program rollout resulted in the level of disaster as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges over their first two weeks. The White House refuses to release enrollment statistics that should be easily gleaned from internal systems serving the exchange sites, if those servers actually remained up and running. On both of its two weekends, technicians spent long hours attempting to fix the myriad problems that stymie consumers, only to have the problems persist — even when site traffic should be low, as CNN's Elizabeth Cohen discovered on Monday. (Gee, it's not working out quite like promised.  I'm shocked, shocked! I'd send this to my friends who still have total faith in the program, but that would just make them mad at me.  I've noticed a lot of sensitivity about criticizing the program, or criticizing anything about the government shutdown and turning off water spigots, etc, to maximally inconvenience citizens.  I'd then switch to just the weather, but that brings up the whole Climate Change thing, and they get upset about the news that there is no news, that is, no temperature change for the past 16 years. Maybe I could limit discussion to movie reviews, or classic books. --Del. What do you expect with only three years and $640M to spend on the site? Unfortunately, Del, most of the movies are Hollywood anti-American propaganda, and the classic books they consider Euro-centric and racist. ~Bob.)

Hillary Clinton just got a parking ticket in London

Excerpt: This morning, as Mrs. Clinton was speaking inside, one such industrious parking officer fought with three secret service agents to fine her silver Mercedes, parked in St James’s Square in Mayfair for 45 minutes, £80 (£40 if her office gets around to paying the ticket within 14 days) for not feeding the meter. [Those traffic wardens in Westminster are famous for being able to materialize out of thin air. Nobody knows how they get to your car so quickly. And, yes, it's 80 quid ($120-140?), even if you've been there for one minute.)

Morrocan Islamists Throw Chairs at Kissing Couples. By Daniel Greenfield

Excerpt: And where there’s the Brotherhood… the good times really begin to roll. A few dozen Moroccans took part in a “kiss-in” Saturday in Rabat to support three teenagers arrested for posting a picture of themselves kissing on Facebook. The protesters were confronted by onlookers as they kissed and chanted “Long live love”.

Obamafoodorama: Terrorist Squirrels Free To Attack Michele Obama's White House Garden Due To Shutdown

Excerpt: Right now, the many squirrels who live at the White House seem to have gotten even more aggressive with the low level of human intervention.  The squirrels are always a problem in the garden, eating the berry crop in the summer months.  But they're now kids in a candy store, gorging themselves. (Huh. Poor Michelle--no serfs to take care of the garden. ~Bob)

The Battle of the Redskins. By Daniel Greenfield

Excerpt: Over the summer, those two legendary sources of sports coverage, Salon Magazine and MSNBC, or as they are known in some places the S Word and the M Word, announced that they would begin referring to the Washington Redskins football team as the R Word. Ordinarily liberals would not be too eager to call a team with 40 black players, a black quarterback and a passionate black fan base a hyphenated euphemism. But there are only so many politically correct causes out there and worried liberals were reassured when none other than Barack Obama, or the B.O. Word, endorsed a name change for the Redskins. (Have the native Americans said much? Or just white liberals telling them how they should feel? Not an issue I care much about. Okay with me if they rename them the Obstreperous Bureaucrats. ~Bob)

Documents: Anti-Redskin Indian Leader Is Not A Legitimate Member Of His Tribe. By Patrick Howley

The American Indian leader spearheading the campaign to change the name of the Washington Redskins is not a legitimate member of the tribe he leads, according to a New York State Assemblywoman, but rather an Obama crony who is raking in casino money and paying back only small stipends to his tribe members. Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who is also the CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises, is not recognized in his position by the Grand Council of Chiefs governing the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Halbritter is not a legitimate member of the Oneida tribe, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney told The Daily Caller. (My dad knew an "Indian" who ran a shop selling Native American crafts (made in China, I think) and was making big bucks providing sensitivity training to the Airlines on dealing with the redskins--until he was busted as a fraud, not an Indian at all. Or the Pitiful Palefaces. ~Bob)

The Skins Name Game. By Andy Weddington

Excerpt: Combat deaths, murders of Americans serving abroad, and sundry disconcerting domestic current events, more than should be surrounding our president, garner less attention by most media.

House GOP unity breaks down over latest shutdown offer: White House rejects latest proposal to end stalemate

What? The Nobility to have the same health plan as the lower orders? Lèse-majesté! ~Bob.

Weatherman Bomber Bill Ayers Shocked to be Portrayed as "Some Kind of Public Enemy." By Daniel Greenfield

Excerpt: 'Ayers’ wife Bernadine Dohrn was also at the event, with Ayers introducing her as his “partner in crime,” adding, to laughter from the audience, “she hates it when I say that. It’s a metaphor.”' So when he was trying to kill people, it was, like a metaphor, man. (They should have been stood against a wall and shot years ago. ~Bob.)

The raw gall of illegal aliens

Excerpt: The protests staged by illegal aliens at the Phoenix ICE office, including plans to block buses transporting illegal detainees, were thwarted by the federal holiday that left the building deserted Monday. That fact didn’t stop the throng of foreign nationals and their supporters from partying in the street and “dancing for several hours as if they were at a giant block party,” the pro-amnesty daily reports. (Obama, Reid & Pelosi keep saying Obamacare--passed by one vote & upheld by one vote--is "the law of the land." Isn't immigration law? ~Bob)

Subsidized Tuition for Illegal Aliens is Now "Tuition Equality." By Daniel Greenfield

Excerpt: Obama’s Illegal Aliens aka DREAMERS are screaming that they want subsidized tuition in New Jersey. The In-State Tuition Bill/N.J. Tuition Equity Act is being kicked around. In-state tuition is already a scam.

Column: Terror Attacks by Any Other Name

Excerpt: Six years earlier, a well-armed gunman stormed a shopping mall in Salt Lake City, intending to kill as many people as possible. Witnesses say he shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — or "Allah is greatest!" as he opened fire, killing five people before being shot by an off-duty police officer. Described as a religious Muslim, the gunman reportedly bragged of a jihadist grandfather and attended a mosque suspected of radicalizing him. Sulejmen Talovic's February 2007 attack is not classified as a terrorist attack, but rather cast as "the act of a madman." 

Syrian Rebels Urged to Let Inspectors See Arms Sites

Excerpt: Pressure intensified on Syrian rebels on Monday to permit access to chemical weapons sites in areas under their control, as officials said the rapidly shifting lines in the civil war made it difficult for inspectors to reach some locations and called for all parties to ease the process of dismantling Syria’s toxic arms.

Three Red Cross workers still held in Syria

Excerpt: The security situation has got much worse in recent months, especially in August, given the rise of the influence of extremist groups directly linked to al Qaeda," said Jitka Korenkova, who works for the Czech People in Need, one of the few aid groups working in Aleppo city, in north Syria.

Two Charged with Conspiring to Aid Al Qaida, Taliban. By Abha Shankar

Excerpt: Two New York City men were arrested Friday and charged with conspiring to funnel money and equipment to terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and the Taliban, fighting American forces in Afghanistan.

Glitch?: IRS Funnels Billions to Illegal Aliens. By Arnold Ahlert 

Excerpt: While many conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status were singled out for extra scrutiny by the IRS, a commensurate level of calculated disinterest was demonstrated with regard to illegal aliens. A bombshell report, “Paying Illegals to Stay” written by Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) fellow David North reveals that the Treasury has paid out a whopping $4.2 billion to the families of illegal aliens.

A Proposed Movie Deal for a Piracy Suspect Has a Surprise Ending: His Arrest

Excerpt: The only thing more enticing to a pirate than treasure, according to Belgian authorities, is the chance to see himself in a movie. A man suspected of being a pirate mastermind arrived in Brussels on Saturday expecting to sign a deal for a movie about his swashbuckling past in the Somali piracy business. Instead, he found himself under arrest, charged with kidnapping, organized crime and, of course, piracy.

Ethiopia: Blast Likely an Accidental Detonation

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/10/14/world/africa/ap-af-ethiopia-blast.html?ref=world Excerpt: A blast in Ethiopia's capital over the weekend appears to have been an accidental detonation of explosives by two Somali militants who may have planned to attack a soccer game, a state TV report said Monday.

Excerpt: Timing is everything. And just as Congress’s focus seems to be drifting from Obamacare’s ravages on the economy, Americans are learning the reason this law’s implementation was postponed until after the presidential election. That reason is becoming clear as person after person opens the mail. Insurance costs are going up. For many, not just going up—skyrocketing. Ross, a married father of three small boys in Florida, tells us his insurance will be going up $525 per month. “I feel completely helpless,” he says. Kevin, who also has three small boys, just found out his wife's individual health insurance premium will be jumping from $79 per month to $311.82 per month. “For whom exactly is the Affordable Care Act making care affordable?” asked Kevin, who lives in Alabama.

Healthcare.gov -- A Study in Government Cronyism. By Carol Platt Liebau 

Excerpt: Anyone could have seen this coming: Those with "connections" got the well-paid work of constructing the horrendously inoperative Healthcare.gov web site: Why did they get the work? The report [produced by SunlightFoundation Reporting Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on government transparency] hints at a likely reason: The companies were big lobbyists, with "some 17 contract winners reported spending more than $128 million on lobbying in 2011 and 2012."

A Return to Keynes? By Thomas Sowell 

Excerpt: Ms. Yellen, a former professor of economics at Berkeley, has openly proclaimed her views on economic policy, and those views deserve very careful scrutiny. She asks: "Will capitalist economies operate at full employment in the absence of routine intervention?" And she answers: "Certainly not." Janet Yellen represents the Keynesian economics that once dominated economic theory and policy like a national religion -- until it encountered two things: Milton Friedman and the stagflation of the 1970s.

Need health care coverage? Just dial 1-800-F**KYO to reach Obamacare’s national hotline

Too funny. ~Bob

Excerpt:  Okay, for one day...and one day only, let's toss politics aside and just talk hard numbers...the only hard numbers we need to worry about for now.  For, in the coming days, a deal will be reached that will approve still another raise in the national debt ceiling.  Both parties can scream all they want but a deal will get done. And here's why that's a tragedy.  If you go to Whitehouse.gov and read President Obama's own budget, it calls for spending $ 3.6 trillion dollars.  The President has anticipated a GDP growth this year of 3 percent, which, if successful, will generate $2.6 trillion dollars in taxes and fees.  That leaves us with still another trillion dollars in deficit spending...another trillion added to the national debt.  Okay, I know it's hard to grasp the idea of a trillion dollars...it is so vast and such an unwieldy thing to get your head around, let's look at it in ways we can understand. (Hard to put politics aside in a country where the intergenerational compact is broken, and the "loot the future" voters are now a majority. ~Bob)

Better connection and a disconnect. By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Excerpt: You have to get the picture as captured on surveillance video and described by authorities in a story published last week by the San Francisco Chronicle. You have to see the suspect, 30-year-old Nikhom Thephakaysone, sitting on the light-rail train, pulling out his .45-caliber pistol, pointing it across the aisle, putting it back, pulling it out several times again, and at one point wiping his nose with the hand holding the gun -- and nobody notices because they're too busy staring down at their smartphones and tablet computers. We're talking about a train crowded with commuters and this guy is waving a gun around but nobody sees him, so engrossed are they in texting, tweeting and playing Angry Birds.

Excerpt: Afghan authorities accused the Taliban of executing two young children between the ages of 8 and 10 as government spies. (Wait until they are back in power, after Obama cuts and runs from what he called a war of necessity, not of choice--a war we must win. ~bob)

Sex jihad of Tunisian girl in Syria: "They promised me paradise, so I gave myself to 152 men"

Excerpt: Immediately divorced, the young woman married one of the leaders of Jabhat al Norsra, Abou Ayoub. Whom she divorced to marry another jihadist… And then another and another… In total, she had 152 "husbands".

Chicago Newspaper Details Middle Class America Getting Raped By Obamacare… by Ulsterman

Excerpt: Barack Obama made many-many promises regarding his divisive, costly, and to this point, failed healthcare program known by most as “ObamaCare”.  Today the president’s own hometown newspaper details sad and shocking stories of middle class Americans now facing far tougher economic times due to the forced compliance mandates and high costs of Obamacare that has rates doubling or even tripling, with LESS choice and options for healthcare coverage.

Entertaining Reading: The roll out of the health care exchanges has been a stunning failure. A look at the federal exchange's Facebook page reveals that there are plenty of unsatisfied customers.

Excerpt: As you'll see, not all the complaints are about website glitches, many are about the site's design or simply about prices. I have left out the names but all of these complaints can be found on the Facebook page and all are from the last 48 hours: (As P.J. O'Rourke said, "If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free." ~Bob.)

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